The gas utility company Greenway has announced it will be buying out its entire gas business from the original operators.
Greenway has been running the largest gas utility in the US for decades, but its lease on the gas grid in Minnesota has expired.
The company said on Thursday that it had reached a deal to buy out the leases for its gas plants and that it would continue operating the gas plant in Duluth, Minnesota, but would be selling its gas utility business.
Under the deal, Greenway will get $3.8 billion to buy back gas and electricity lines from Minnesota utilities, and it will pay utilities about $200 million a year in long-term maintenance and capital costs.
“We’re thrilled to finally be able to move forward with this merger and continue to provide our customers with reliable, reliable gas, but also the opportunity to build a new business,” said Jeff Kuss, CEO of Greenway, in a statement.
Kuss said the merger will create a new, smaller gas utility, which is expected to start operations later this year.
It also means that Greenway is now able to focus more on the long-run long-haul gas supply chain, Kuss said.
More than 1,500 gas lines in Minnesota were still under Greenway ownership, and about 400 of those are in Duloxa.
At the same time, Greenways customers in Minnesota have been hit hard by recent weather events.
In January, a tornado struck the Twin Cities, killing one person and injuring at least 30 others.
There has been heavy rain and hail in Dulukas recent storms, and the company has been hit with two more power outages.
On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health said it had received more than 8,700 calls from people with gas leaks, but had not received any reports of serious health issues.
Last month, a new storm hit the Twin Lakes region, and officials said they had received about 3,700 such calls.
For its part, the company said it was “disappointed” by the decision to merge.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said in a news conference Thursday that the state would remain a “major gas supplier to the country,” adding that he will review the deal to see whether it was made in the best interests of Minnesota residents.
But Kuss stressed that Greenways lease on gas lines was the most reliable way for the utility to serve its customers.
I am confident the Minnesota Public Service Commission will take this opportunity to review this merger, and I will ensure that our customers continue to have reliable gas and that they will be able continue to get the gas they need,” he said.
Read more from The Verge:The deal will also benefit customers in southern Minnesota, as it will have the largest single-unit gas transmission network in the state.
According to a press release from the Minnesota Utilities and Communications Board, Greenwell will be allowed to sell gas to customers in five markets: southern Minnesota; southern Minnesota Lake Superior, Minnesota’s largest lake; northern Minnesota; northern Wisconsin; and western Wisconsin.
Some of those markets have been experiencing significant supply shortages, so it will likely be a long time before the utility is able to get gas to those customers.